Catching up on news from the weekend, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey held his seventh annual “BBQ bash” at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on July 13. Speaking to the crowd, Northey confirmed that he will seek a third term in 2014 and said he had raised at least $100,000 for his re-election campaign at the event. Ever since Northey ruled out running for the U.S. Senate in early May, it’s been clear that he would go for another four years in the job he loves.
I’ve been disappointed in Northey as secretary of agriculture. He never followed through on the farmland protection initiative he announced in 2008, even though Iowa continues to lose some of the world’s most productive agricultural land at an alarming rate. He has insisted on a solely voluntary approach to reducing nutrient pollution in Iowa waterways despite ample evidence that approach will fail. Record nitrate levels have been reported this spring and summer in major Iowa rivers, and the Des Moines Water Works is facing huge extra costs to make water drinkable for 15 percent of Iowa’s population. Not only is Northey not part of the solution, he’s digging in his heels to perpetuate the problem.
Any comments about next year’s campaign for secretary of agriculture are welcome in this thread. I haven’t heard yet of any Democrats planning to challenge Northey. Dusky Terry, who narrowly lost the Democratic primary for this office in 2006, could be a credible candidate. He is currently mayor of Earlham, a small town in Dallas County.